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He wanted his scattered
on the Outer Banks, where
I wandered one summer
past him naked in bed
with a woman, the two of them
sunburnt except for cutouts
of swim trunks and bikini,
the curtains’ inebriated sway,
a barely audible abrading.
You had to walk through
the bedroom to get to
the bathroom where
there was a mirror and cool
water. It was 1973
at a conference he’d convened
in a house on stilts. My father
introduced my sister and me
to his following as “the slaves.”
The hitchhiker hired
to man the kitchen
would be our master.



Naomi Mulvihill was a fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA. Her poems have been published in the Kenyon Review Online, Green Mountains Review, West Branch and others, and featured in Verse Daily and The Unamuno Author Series Festival Anthology.